A Few Blocks

A Few Blocks

Book - 2011
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Ferdie doesn't want to go to school, but go to school he must, and fortunately his imaginative older sister Viola paves the way. But even big sisters get tired sometimes, and so Ferdie, following her example, draws on his own inner resources and imagination to keep them going.
Publisher: Toronto : Groundwood Books : House of Anansi Press, c2011.
ISBN: 9780888999955
Characteristics: [42] pages :,illustrations (some color) ;,19 cm.


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Nov 29, 2016

My son is an only child, so all the coaxing-of-child-to-do-something around here is done by adults. In this book, an older sibling is stuck with the coaxing. Viola has to get Ferdie, her younger brother, to walk to school. He doesn't want to. Her response is far more positive and creative than I might be in that situation, and as a result both children have much more fun... until Viola runs out of steam and needs a little help herself. The story is full of imagination, but what really stands out here is the art. From what I can tell, Young took photo-realistic drawings, cut them up, layered them, and took photographs? That's my best guess knowing she's an award-winning paper sculptor. The result is fascinating fantasy landscapes for the children to walk through, composed of bits and pieces of the real neighborhood around them. The color shifts from page to page of the imaginary landscapes are just lovely.

Apr 21, 2015

It is time to go to school, but Ferdie does not want to go. So his sister helps motivate him by entering the world of imagination and inviting Ferdie along. When he gets tired and sits down again on the way, she makes up a new make believe scenario each time until they make it to school.

I very much enjoyed Young's, A Few Bites in which the sister encourages her brother to eat his lunch. But this story lacked the good plot flow and I felt dragged down by Ferdie's attitude. I felt like he was being a whiner. Everyone must go to school and sister should not need to make up one story after another to get him the few blocks to school. The few blocks to school seemed miles long by the time the story was over. In A Few Bites, it was easy to imagine a little boy who doesn't want to eat, but in this story I now feel the boy is older since he is going to school and he shouldn't be acting like a toddler. And where are the parents?

On a positive note, I very much enjoy Young's illustrations. They are different from anything you might see in other books. She uses Japanese paper sculptures. This story begins with black and white drawings, but as the children's imaginations grow the illustrations become colored paper sculptures. Instead of simply coloring the sculptures, she uses drawings within drawings.

forbesrachel Sep 18, 2012

I love how colour is used for the imaginary bits, while the real world is shown in dulled strips beneath it.

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